Welcome to the BH&PS web site. 
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1:00 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays - Fridays

Our Museum and Library are open year around on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m.; and from May through October the Society is also open on Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m.  And we are open by special appointment.  Call ahead for special tours of our collections or for access to our research library.  Free to members and $2 for non members. Bring your out-of-town guests for a tour. Books on Bristol history, historic maps, prints and other items are available for sale in our Museum Corner Gift Shop during open hours.


Society members will receive direct mailings of upcoming events 
and this site will provide updates as they occur.  To become a
 member, stop by the Society during open hours or click on 
the membership page to your left.

April 16, 2016
RI Historic Cemetery Restoration/Awareness Day

The Bristol Cemetery Commission
 is hosting a special event at the North Burial Ground:

"Digitizing the Dead" with Jacob Begin

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 16th

Meet at the brick chapel building at the entrance of the North Burial Ground cemetery on Hope Street (next to Colt State Park) for coffee and to learn about the history of the cemetery and the art of digitizing a gravestone.  Using simple tools such as a digital camera or a cell phone, a mirror and an umbrella, you will learn how to take compelling images of gravestones.

Jacob Begin, an accomplished photographer and expert on RI gravestones, is a Historic Preservation Specialist with the RI Department of Transportation and a member of the Board of Directors at the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society.

of the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society

MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2016
7 P.M. at the Herreshoff Community Room,
Rogers Free Library, 525 Hope Street, Bristol

Business Meeting:  Annual Reports, Nominations and Election of Directors and Officers for 2016, Presentation and Adoption of Budget and items the Board or Members May Wish to Bring Up

ollowed by a short talk on what's happening out at Coggeshall Farm
by Cindy Elder,
Coggeshall Farm's Executive Director

The Society has a long history with Coggeshall Farm dating back to 1965 when the State of RI purchased the former Samuel P. Colt Estate using funds from Governor John Chaffee's Green Acres Program, a $5 Million Bond Issue.   The State was then proceeding to destroy the buildings on the property.  The Society led by our then President, George Sisson, and Helene Tessler, fought to save the 1750 farmhouse and some surrounding acreage for farmland to create a living museum. George was friends with Governor Chafee and the Governor's intervention was crucial to the Society's obtaining a lease from the State for $1 per year.  By 1968, the Society was able to begin restoration of the farm and to work together with the University of RI to house farm animals during the warm months.  A Bristol Phoenix article wrote that "These [farm animals] will include cows, ducks, RI Reds, Marina sheep, geese, oxen, horses and carriages, ponies and goats.  Trees, bushes and grasses will be identified and those that were imported will be marked as to arrival and source."  Lots of excitement at the time and the fundraising for the restoration was taken on by the Society.  By 1970 the Society raised $5000 and with hard work by Society members and volunteers, the first resident caretakers, Bonnie and Adam Tomash, were able to move into the Farmhouse and plans were made to begin construction of outbuildings such as a sheep barn.  By 1974, the Farm was established enough that it could take off on its own.  

Meeting is open to the public and will be followed by refreshments.


Next Meeting:  Saturday, May 7, 2016, at 9 a.m.
Society Headquarters, 48 Court Street, Bristol

Open To All - Just Walk In and Join the Group

The Club meets regularly on the 1st Saturday of the month except for July and August. If the Saturday falls on a holiday weekend, the group will meet the following Saturday.

Our April meeting hosted guest speaker, Janet Hudon Hartman, author of a recently published book "Journey Into Poland:  My Roots in Grandfather's Village".

The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, 2016, at 9 a.m. at 48 Court Street.  The discussion will focus on DNA testing and those who have done DNA testing are invited to print out their DNA results to share.  Different testing companies present different reports and it is confusing to choose which company and/or which type of test without seeing actual results.

                   Individual Review of Research Problems

We have a very lively group and we devote a portion of each meeting to our "brick wall roundtable" to help members with their individual research problems.  The idea is for members to present their latest "brick wall" so others can help decide what to do next.  The purpose of this short session is not to review an entire family history nor is it to actually solve the entire brick wall but is instead to give ideas on HOW to solve it.

As of December 2015, Fire, Burglar and Security systems at the BHPS are fully installed due to the receipt of a generous $15,000 matching grant from The 1772 Foundation.  The BHPS has motion alarms and security cameras throughout the building, has a secured entry alarm system and a fire alarm system that is directly linked to the Town of Bristol Fire Department.  As part of its 2015 Matching Grants for Historic Preservation made available to organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island, The 1772 Foundation Grant has enabled the Society to protect its unique research library, its extensive paper document room, the significant portrait collection, and all of the other artifacts throughout the building.

Founded in 1936 to promote interest in historical research and preservation, to stimulate the study of the history of Southern New England, especially the Town of Bristol, to collect and preserve whatever pertains thereto, and to provide museum quarters for the exhibition of the same and a meeting space for our members.

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